"Thera" The Ice Age
Panthera leo atrox
Panthera (PAN-there-ah) = panther
leo (Lee-oh) = lion
atrox (A-trox) = fearsome
Found in interior Alaska in 1995 by Wasilla youth,
Devon Foster, this skull of an Ice Age cat (American
Lion) is one of less than a dozen found in Alaska. Carbon
dated at 19,250 years old, Thera, a carnivore, probably
belonged to a small pride that hunted mostly bison and
"Thera's" teeth are rugged and pointed, good
for grabbing other animals on the run, as well as for
ripping and shredding meat.
American lions were among the largest flesh-eating
land animals that lived during the Ice Age (Quaternary
the last two million years) in America. American lions
were characterized by their enormous size and relatively
long, slender limbs. Males were nearly 25 percent larger
than male African lions They ranged from Alaska and
Yukon as far south as Peru.
Ice Age carnivores such as "Thera" were important
to the balance of the ecosystem because they culled
sick, weak or otherwise unfit animals from the herds.
This is the natural way to keep the gene pools strong.
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